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The Ultimate Guide to the Best Espresso Beans and Coffee for the Perfect Shot

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The Ultimate Guide to the Best Espresso Beans and Coffee for the Perfect Shot

Are you tired of making rounds to Starbucks to get your daily dose of espresso? We totally get where you are coming from, but what if we tell you that you can enjoy the same magnificent coffee from the comfort of your home?

Sure, that creamy delight from your favorite barista may be hard to beat, but with the right beans, you can soon treat yourself to that same intense, full-bodied experience.

For all our fellow coffee aficionados, today we will look at some of the best espresso beans you can trust to satisfy your caffeine cravings.

There is also a buying guide and answers to frequently asked questions to ensure that nothing comes between you and your morning espresso.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get brewing!

The Best Espresso Beans and Coffee for the Perfect Shot

  • Koffee Kult Dark Roast Coffee
  • Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso
  • Lavazza Super Crema Espresso
  • Kicking Horse Kick Ass Coffee
  • Illy Classico Espresso Ground Coffee
  • Lifeboost Coffee Espresso Beans
  • Volcanica Coffee Tanzania Peaberry
  • Peet’s Arabian Sanani

1. Koffee Kult Dark Roast Coffee

Koffee Kult Coffee Beans Dark Roasted
4.4
$31.99 ($1.00 / Ounce)
Roast Level: Dark Roast
Composition: 100% Arabica
Tasting Notes: Smooth, caramel, cinnamon, heavy body, and bright with a long finish
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04/14/2024 05:00 pm GMT

If you want something that will give you a serious kick of caffeine, these are the coffee beans for you. With specialty grade 100% Arabica beans from Brazil, Columbia, and Sumatra, Koffee Kult Dark Roast is a one-of-a-kind espresso bean.

These tiny beans pack a mighty punch. They are bold and intense and are coupled with sweet undertones of cinnamon to deliver a slightly fruity yet well-balanced flavor that you can use for anything from a light-hearted French press to a dark espresso.

Also, they are low on oil and acidity, allowing you to enjoy your brew without fear of an upset stomach. And did we mention that the brand hand-selects its beans and roasts them in small batches? This small-batch process results in frequent roasting, which ascertains maximum freshness and consistent quality in every cup. And isn’t that what everyone desires?

All in all, Koffee Kult Dark Roast is a strong blend that is worth trying. After all, there is nothing better than the taste of a freshly brewed, high-quality dark roast.

Pros

  • Bold, flavorful coffee anyone can enjoy
  • Reliable packaging to seal in the freshness
  • Super healthy beans with no oil and minimal acidity
  • Also suitable for French press and cold brew

Cons

  • Some may find the beans to be dry

2. Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso

Intelligentsia Medium Roast Whole Bean Coffee – Black Cat Espresso
$14.14 ($1.18 / Ounce)
Roast Level: Medium Roast
Composition: 100% Arabica
Tasting Notes: Flavor Notes of Stone Fruit, Dark Sugars and Dark Chocolate
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04/14/2024 04:50 pm GMT

Are you one of those who prefer a more subtle coffee taste without affecting the caffeine potency? Intelligentsia’s Black Cat Espresso might do it for you if that is the case.

These coffee beans are not as dark as their name appears to be. Instead, they are medium-roasted Arabica coffee that ideally embraces the sweet, clean, and complex flavor profile. With notes of ripe cherry, brown sugar, and dark chocolate shining beautifully, you can use the Black Cat as espresso or pair it with milk in a latte or cappuccino.

The beans have more sweetness and syrupy mouthfeel than most espresso blends, but this chocolatey tone gives them their distinct, homey feel.

However, the remarkable seasonality of Black Cat makes it outshine others. The flavor profile of the blend shifts from season to season to incorporate new arrivals and to ensure that it never loses its unique brightness.

Pros

  • Optimized freshness and quality
  • Smooth and rich without the bitter aftertaste
  • Delicious aroma

Cons

  • Some may find it a little too sweet
  • It lies on the pricier side

3. Lavazza Super Crema Espresso

Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend
4.6
$21.00 ($0.60 / Ounce)
Roast Level: Medium-Light
Composition: Arabica and Robusta
Tasting Notes: Brown sugar and hazelnut
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04/14/2024 03:28 pm GMT

If you are searching for something lighter and sweeter without getting those caffeine jitters, this best espresso bean by Lavazza Super is your best bet.

Made with 80% Arabica and 20% Robusta beans, the Crema Espresso offers a blend of Indian, Columbian, Indonesian, and Brazilian coffee beans to make your cup of Joe more delicious and exciting.

This espresso blend has a touch of creamy, velvety, and smooth taste, making it a preferred choice for espressos and French drips. And when feeling fancy, you can mix it with some sweet or whipped cream to make it a fulfilling dessert.

These coffee beans have a dark brown color and are roasted at the perfect temperature to minimize the oil content and provide an authentic European feel and taste.

The best part? These espresso beans come in nitrogen-filled packaging, which extends their pre-opening shelf life and keeps them fresh for a longer time.

Pros

  • A mix of the best coffee from around the world
  • Not too oily and is low in acidity
  • Very well roasted
  • Extended shelf life

Cons

  • The taste may be less flavorful than desired or too light for some people
  • Not for those who are used to the high caffeine content

4. Kicking Horse Kick Ass Coffee

Kicking Horse Coffee- Kick Ass Dark Roast Ground
4.6
$10.99 ($1.10 / Ounce)
Roast Level: Dark
Composition: Arabica and Robusta
Tasting Notes: Chocolate malt, molasses, licorice and an earthy lingering finish
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04/13/2024 04:24 pm GMT

Kicking Horse’s Kick Ass beans are a fantastic alternative if you want a full-blast intensity of espresso. As commanding as their name, the taste and flavor of these beans are intense and solid, along with a velvety, earthy touch. These beans are not for faint-hearted people or those with milder preferences.

This dark roast coffee blend is a 100% organic product derived from South America, Central America, and Indonesia. It features notes of nutmeg and chocolate alongside coffee to give you some of the best espressos you will ever drink. Not to mention the low acid content, which allows you to devour cup after cup without facing indigestion or any other discomfort.

Even the packaging of Kicking Horse coffee is as exciting as its name. The mystical black pouch is one of the best parts of these beans. It is eye-catching and highly reliable for maintaining the freshness and longevity of its content. Plus, it comes with an attractive price tag than the previous contenders.

Pros

  • Strong flavor and taste
  • Low acid content
  • Characteristic ashy and nutmeg flavor
  • Beautiful packaging

 

Cons

5. Illy Classico Espresso Ground Coffee

Illy Classico Espresso
$11.99 ($1.36 / Ounce)
Roast Level: Medium
Composition: 100% Arabica
Tasting Notes: Chocolate & caramel
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04/14/2024 06:02 pm GMT

Illy is a world-renowned company that has produced excellent, craft-quality Italian coffee beans since its arrival.

You can tell that the brand sourced these best coffee beans very carefully and let their quality shine here. The Classico Espresso roast consists of exclusively high-quality Arabica beans that are medium-roasted to yield a softer coffee imbued with subtle flavor. It also features rich and balanced undertones of chocolate and caramel which further enhances the taste and ensures a delicious, full-bodied shot on every sip.

What is unique about this coffee is that it arrives in air-free pressurized cans to seal in the oils and aromas so you can enjoy the freshest cup every day.

Additionally, it is pre-ground and, therefore, an excellent choice for those who don’t have an espresso-quality grinder or are unwilling to do that extra hard work. But if you own a grinder and have a proper setup, then make sure to go for the whole beans option!

Need help purchasing the best grinder? Check out our review on the Breville Smart Grinder Pro vs Baratza Virtuosa to see which is better.

Pros

  • Features an authentic Italian taste
  • Finely powdered coffee to save you from the hassle of grinding
  • Beautifully fragrant
  • Packed in nitrogen-filled cans to preserve freshness

Cons

  • Not ideal for those who want stronger coffee
  • Some users complained about receiving no lids with the can

6. Lifeboost Coffee Espresso Beans

Lifeboost Coffee Espresso Whole Beans Coffee
$27.95 ($2.33 / Ounce)
Roast Level: Medium
Composition: Organic Coffee
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04/14/2024 05:24 pm GMT

There is no way that you are an avid coffee buyer but have not heard the name Lifeboost while shopping for some beans. Lifeboost Coffee has set the standard for organic, healthy beans, and their espresso blend beans are no different.

These beans are lovingly grown in the chilly mountains of Nicaragua, spring water-washed, and free from harmful pesticides, so you can rest assured knowing that you are getting a premium-grade coffee experience. Simultaneously, its notes of caramel and chocolate, coupled with fruity flavor, guarantee a supremely bold and intense base for your espresso roast.

Moreover, Lifeboost is a USDA-certified and fair trade brand which means that it makes sure that the beans are produced without sacrificing the environment, local coffee farmers, and your health. And isn’t it tempting to go for something that tastes and FEELS good to drink?

Pros

  • Provides a bold, rich, and smooth base
  • An intense and delicious aroma
  • Mycotoxins and pesticides free
  • Gentle on your stomach and teeth

Cons

  • Expensive compared to other options
  • Does not work with French press

7. Volcanica Coffee Tanzania Peaberry

Tanzania Peaberry and Kenya AA, Whole Bean Coffee Bundle
$37.99 ($2.37 / Ounce)
Roast Level: Medium
Composition: Peaberry
Tasting Notes: Raspberry, cranberry, fresh-cut redwood, alyssum-like flowers
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04/14/2024 05:08 pm GMT

Only a few coffee brands know how to do espressos the right way. Fortunately, Volcanica Coffee Tanzania Peaberry is one of those names.

These 100% pure Kenya AA coffee beans are cultivated directly from the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro for the richest flavor combined with smooth, winy overtones. Moreover, they are packed and sealed carefully to preserve their freshness for the longest time.

The specialty of this espresso bean lies in its composition. While most cherry beans consist of two coffee beans, Volcanica falls under the rare category that contains only a single bean. By doing this, the peaberry conserves all the nutrients of the bean, adding to its richness and exoticness.

These medium-roasted beans feature Kenya’s signature fruity, sweet flavors and underlying taste of plum and nougat. Last, the lemongrass’s acidic level and buttery body promise to make your morning espressos robust, refreshing, and heavenly.

Pros:

  • High-grade AA beans with lots of aromatic oils
  • Fragrant aroma with a touch of raspberry, cranberry, and plum
  • Medium roasted and vibrant lemongrass acidity
  • Sealed packaging for long-lasting freshness.
  • Single peaberry bean filled with nutrients and flavors.

 

Cons:

  • Some people find them too oily and heavy
  • Lacks complexity and depth of flavor

8. Peet’s Arabian Sanani

Peet's Coffee, Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee - Espresso Forte 32 Ounce Bag
$28.99 ($0.91 / Ounce)
Roast Level: Dark
Composition: 100% Arabica
Tasting Notes: Chocolate, hazelnut, smooth crema
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04/14/2024 05:16 pm GMT

Alfred Peet, the man behind the name Peet, has always been connected with the history of coffee and the introduction of English brewing methods in California. Their flavorful Arabian Sanani coffee beans are here to set a new trend for what it means to be an excellent espresso.

It is made from 100% Arabica beans picked from the regions of Africa and Arabia. These coffee beans are dark roasted while containing light elements of chocolate and dates. Not only this, Peet’s limited edition espresso beans strike the perfect balance between a spicy and earthy aroma.

The longer the beans are packed and left, the more likely they will lose their original taste and nutrients. To tackle this problem, Peet only roasts these coffee beans after confirmation of the order and ships them within the next four hours.

With a dark roast type and a novelty, spicy aroma, Peet’s Arabian Sanani is perfect for espressos, Moka pots, French press, and pour-over. It also has a highly affordable price tag.

Pros:

  • 100% Arabica beans from Africa and Arabia
  • Available in whole and pre-ground bean type
  • Roasted and shipped right away for unmatched freshness
  • Budget-friendly choice
  • Suitable for different coffee types, including espresso and French press

Cons:

  • It leaves a sour and winy aftertaste
  • Poor customer service

Buying Guide

No matter who you ask, every coffee barista agrees that its ingredients are the secret behind making the most delicious espresso coffee.

But how do you know which coffee beans give a bitter flavor to your drink and blend it just the way you want? Well, to understand this and pick the best espresso beans for your beverages, you need to consider the following details:

Roast Type

The type of roast you use as your espresso coffee beans plays a significant role in determining the bitterness of the drink, along with which brewing method is the best for it. The three main types include light, medium, and dark roasts.

Lighter roasted beans are perfect for coffees with a slow extraction process. They have balanced acidity and a slightly sweet, organic flavor. At the same time, medium roasts are more bitter and richer in flavor. These beans offer the best of both worlds by being less acidic than the light type and smoother than the dark ones.

Lastly, dark roast beans are oily on the surface and have twice the strength of a usual coffee. They have the highest bitterness and lowest acidity.

Single Origin vs Blends

As its name suggests, single-origin coffee beans are grown in a specific area during a particular season. Therefore, they have exotic, rich flavors and are used by expert baristas in brewing exquisite beverages.

In contrast, blended coffee beans are grown in various locations and accessible all year round. Blends are also more forgiving to work with since you can mix things up while brewing the drink but still end up with a decent latte or cappuccino.

Bean Origin

Coffee beans are grown all around the world, but all of them differ from each other in one or more ways. For example, beans grown in Jamaica have a well-balanced, mellow, and spicy taste, whereas Mexican beans are known for their fruity, light body with moderate acidity.

On the other hand, people go with Indian beans if they want a more creamy, earthy, and less acidic taste. Beans from African regions, including Ethiopia and Tanzania, are famous for their citrusy, bright, and vibrant bodies. If you want a buttery, nutty, and chocolatey essence, go with beans cultivated in Brazil.

Whole vs Pre-Ground Beans

Whether you grind your coffee beans or purchase pre-ground ones can directly affect the aroma and strength of your espresso. The critical difference between both is that of flavor and convenience. Whole beans have a fresher and richer taste since the beans start to oxidize and lose their essence with time. They also give you greater control over the bitterness of the coffee.

Pre-ground beans are convenient and faster to grind, saving you space and time when running late for work. In addition, you don’t need a specific type or model of grinder for this type to make your espresso tasty and refreshing.

What Kind of Beans Are Best for Espresso?

The best espresso is one with lots of creams and a smooth texture. Baristas usually use dark roasted beans with low acidity to achieve this flavor. The best kind of beans for espresso is Arabica, but a less than 50% concentration of Robusta bean also works. This is because the Robusta bean produces more foam, has better yields, and has a higher caffeine content than the former type. 

What Espresso Beans Does Starbucks Use?

This is one of the most common questions asked by avid visitors of coffee shops; what beans does Starbucks use in their espresso coffee? As we already talked about Arabica being the best kind of espresso beans, Starbucks sticks to this statement and uses 100% Arabica coffee beans to make the richest, creamiest caramel espressos.

Another secret ingredient behind their mouth-watering beverages is how they slowly roast their espresso coffee beans for a refined, rich, and strong taste.

What Are the Best Espresso Beans for Lattes and Crema?

Since the latte is an espresso-based drink, it is also brewed from espresso beans. Similar to espressos, the best beans for lattes are a combination of the Arabica bean and Robusta bean. The Arabica bean provides a softer texture as compared to Robusta’s rich flavor in return for a lighter essence.

Generally, dark roasted beans make lattes, but if it feels too bitter, you can switch to medium-roasted beans too.

As for crema, you need to go with a lighter roast of coffee beans. The best choice for this is Robusta, all thanks to its luscious, thick crema. However, if you want to tone down the sourness of the beverage, blend it with Arabica beans.

What Are the Best Italian and Italian Roast Coffee Beans?

Many Italian coffee brands offer a mixture of different roast coffee beans when brewing espresso. The most popular is undoubtedly Lavazza Rossa, a combination of Robusta and Arabica beans from Africa. Its biggest competitor is Illy which uses 100% Arabica beans for a more refined and rich taste for a high price. Whereas, for the best roast, people often go with Caffe Vergnano, using 100% Arabic espresso roast beans.

Conclusion

With that said, we have reached the end of our ultimate guide to the best espresso beans available. Whether you prefer a dark or light roast, our list will help you find the most suitable espresso bean for your beverages.

Remember that the key to making the most delicious and exquisite espresso is knowing what espresso bean to use and whether you want a rich, bitter aftertaste or a sweet, fruity one.

Also, remember the coffee bean’s origins and the machinery you will use while brewing your morning drink. After all, all of these factors play a vital role in getting your espresso’s texture, color, and taste right!

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